An Arizona DUI Conviction Can Ruin Professional Careers

by Aaron M. Black • December 11, 2020

The many organizations that issue and recertify professional licenses and certifications require strict criteria and rules of behavior to follow. Breaking them, such as a charge or conviction for a DUI in Arizona, can mean suspension or revocation that will damage or destroy careers.

Arizona law requires the licensing and registrations for a comprehensive list of professions and occupations, including those licensed in other states moving here and members of the military serving in Arizona.

Phoenix DUI Conviction Can Ruin Professional Careers

Out-of-state professionals

Arizona in 2019 became the first state to pass a law recognizing professionals from other states. The law’s intention is to make it easy for professionals who want to move here. These people will not need to retrain or relicense to become licensed in Arizona if they have been licensed for at least one year and are in good standing in their original state.

But the new law does not recognize the out-of-state licenses automatically. These holders need to apply to the appropriate licensing boards in Arizona.

Here is an exploration of licensed and certified professions and the consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction:

Healthcare professionals in pandemic

Healthcare professionals are under a great deal of added stress during the pandemic and may make the mistake of drinking too much and driving.

Doctors and healthcare providers who are licensed in Arizona must tell their licensing board within 10 days of their DUI arrest. Doctors may be placed on probation by the board for five years, be required to undergo alcohol abuse education and be randomly tested for under the influence of alcohol.

Nurses need to advise the Arizona Board of Nursing of a DUI arrest within 10 days. For a misdemeanor DUI conviction, the board will conduct its own investigation that includes the blood-alcohol content (BAC) and decide the discipline. These nurses often will be required to undergo alcohol counseling. A felony DUI conviction results in the revocation of the nursing license but they may reapply for a license after five years have passed since their sentencing.

Nursing students applying for a license or who are already certified in another state must report on the application a misdemeanor DUI conviction or a prior felony or other offenses. Those convicted of a felony cannot be certified or licensed for five years after the sentence is served.

The Arizona Board of Physical Therapy holds its members accountable for a misdemeanor DUI or for any misdemeanor concerning the conduct impacting a patient. The charge must be reported to the board within 10 business days or it results in unprofessional conduct carrying a fine and other disciplinary actions.

Military service members and police cadets

The military is restrictive. A service member who has a DUI conviction can be dishonorably discharged or prevented from re-enlisting. For service members who are intending to have a career in military service that goal becomes out-of-reach because of a DUI conviction. However, if the person’s defense attorney can get the DUI charge reduced to reckless driving, military service or a career is still on the table.

People who are on probation and want to join the military cannot do so while on any type of probation.

Individuals seeking to become police officers but who are convicted of a DUI must wait for five years after the conviction to apply.

Commercially licensed drivers (CDL)

Arizona, unlike some other states, has more strict rules for commercial drivers which is defined as a driver who is paid to drive no matter the size or purpose of the vehicle. A DUI is charged if the baseline amount of intoxication is only half of what it is for other adult drivers.

The fines and other penalties imposed are more serious for this class of license holders. Those convicted of a DUI face a license suspension for one year even if the license holder was driving his or her personal vehicle when arrested.

The suspension can last for much longer and the commercial driver’s license can be revoked for offenses involving serious injury or death and end a career as a commercial driver.

Other fields of endeavor

The long list of licensed and certified professionals subject to this law includes a variety of fields. Other examples are real estate agents, brokers, appraisers, teachers, accountants, engineers, attorneys, and contractors among them.

Reporting a DUI to a licensing board

The various professional boards will begin an investigation considering several factors including the BAC level at or above the 0.08 percent baseline and the seriousness of the offense. Other considerations are imposing addiction evaluations, prior DUI convictions and a history of substance abuse.

After the board’s investigation, the person may be required to stand before the board to answer questions.

Common DUI defenses

The best thing to do is to avoid a DUI conviction. Arizona allows several defenses for a DUI charge:
  • The arresting officer must have had a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to make a traffic stop.
  • The officer failed to recite your Miranda rights to remain silent and have an attorney.
  • The officer made a mistake in administering the field sobriety test or the driver had medical or physical issues that negatively impacted the test results.
  • The breath test result is questionable based on the accuracy of the breathalyzer calibration.
  • The blood draw result is faulty based on how the blood was stored or if it was somehow contaminated.

DUI cases have their particular fact patterns so other defenses may be available.

How the best Phoenix DUI defense attorney can help

It is crucial for your professional life and future that you have immediate legal representation.  You will need an attorney who has experience in writing the report of arrest to the professional board and representing you at the board’s hearing.

After the board’s decision to invalidate the license or certificate, you are entitled under due process law to a hearing before the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings, in front of an administrative law judge. Your attorney can present evidence, call witnesses, and challenge the evidence presented against you in the criminal case.

A first-time felony DUI conviction is allowed to be “set aside which proves that sentencing and probation restrictions were satisfied and the charge was dismissed. Civil rights are restored except the right to have a firearm. The felony conviction will remain on the public record but those searching will have a better opinion of the person. Arizona does not allow convictions to be expunged, meaning removed, from public record.

Free, confidential case assessment

No matter what profession you have chosen you can learn what you are facing and what your options are by arranging for my free case review without any obligation to hire me to defend your professional life. Simply call 480-729-1683 to schedule your appointment and I will respond promptly unless I am in court.

 The best way to protect your professional standing is to dismiss your case on legal grounds or reduce your DUI charge to reckless driving.

In using Aaron M. Black Law for your defense you will have an aggressive and experienced DUI defense attorney at your side. You also will have personalized service and will never be talking to a legal assistant.

In the pandemic we can meet online using FaceTime or talk on the phone, by text and email.

I defend DUI cases in justice, municipal (including Phoenix and Scottsdale), state and federal courts in Maricopa and its surrounding counties.

About the Author

Aaron Black Phoenix DUI LawyerAaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI Attorney and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
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